Writing for ShanniiWrites is back, people!
It’s been a while since I wrote for SW so be kind!
ayeeee writing style tips are much needed!! gonna read now
woah i began reading and the first point was like a slap in the face (/pos)
i always worry so much about how i may end up emulating my favourite writers when i’m writing, and if you ask me, i’d admit that my style draws a lot from Chekhov, which i’m not complaining about because he’s amazing, but still i worry that people would see me as trying to copy him when it’s just something that happened naturally.
i do have a couple notes on what you said, though
It just sounds like you’re more concerned with sounding different than with telling a good story. That’s not a reputation you want for yourself or your writing. It doesn’t work out for you well in the long run.
i wanna mention a writer who seriously left an impression on me: Juan Goytisolo. I was meant to read Marks of Identity for uni. I couldn’t finish it because the writing is extremely experimental and what starts being a story written in Spanish ends up as something written in Arabic and as much as i like calling myself a wannabe philologist, i don’t know a lick of Arabic. this is (again) a very experimental choice, but one that aids the story in the end, instead of working against it. it helps with all the estrangement feelings that the story has, and with the core topic of not belonging to Spain due to the civil war. if anyone here is familiar with the book and disagrees with me, please feel free to do so. but i think this one’s a good example of purposefully sounding different that worked out in the end for the story being told.
another example would be The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. it having a first person narrator and all, there was a conscious coice to sound specifically like the autistic protagonist was meant to sound, and honestly that’s one of the main things that made the book enjoyable for me.
and the thing is… here:
What you want it to seem like is that your story and the message you’re trying to convey are the most important parts of your writing.
i think one has to give equal importance to both the story and the message and the writing style.
in the words of Marshall McLuhan (my beloved): “the medium is the message.” how you tell a story has an extremely important role in what you’re trying to convey.
for example: Spanish colonisers imitated greek epics in some of their narrations of the discovery and conquering of America (Elegías de Varones Ilustres de Indias), presenting the very violent events as a heroic thing and almost as a foundational myth.
or how Frankenstein is presented through a series of second hand stories, through letters and stories within stories, and that gives the very first science fiction story such a grounded, realistic and almost familiar feel that it doesn’t feel like an outlandish science fiction story, nor a horror tale, but like a tragedy about humanity itself (which is that the novel is, if you ask me)
so yeah basically one shouldn’t neglect the style in favour of the story, because it could end up being a disservice to the craft
but what you DO have to do is to make sure that style and story complement each other, that they feel like one
So, be patient with yourself. Don’t force it. Don’t rush. I promise you that you’re already developing a writing style without even knowing it. Embrace that and keep writing.
HARD AGREE HERE
writing is an art, that means that you have to carefully craft it
forcing or rushing it will make it crumble
as someone who’s a part of a small community of (fan) writers, i’ve seen my friends’ writing styles flourish so so nicely overtime, it makes me proud of them
Be True to Yourself
this is so true too
i’d like to highlight here that you’re the ONLY person who can tell the stories that you do, like you do
something i like is when people have a similar story and they all put their own spin to it, because even if the story is the same in theory, each writer will highlight and develop things differently
with my group of friends we’re working on a collaborative story
it’s a time loop story, and each of us has the chance of writing a day in the loop
and even though it’s technically the same day repeating, each story is so unique and interesting to read!
Learn All the Grammar Rules
i was about to disagree with this til i read ahead a bit
but yeah you don’t have to follow all grammar rules (much less when writing dialogue or inner thought!), though it is important to know how you’re deviating from them for it to be done intentionally and properly
Pretty soon, I am going to write a whole blog post on why cliché story parodies just don’t work.
this is extremely tangential but i am intrigued on what your take on My Immortal is (not sure if it’s parody, i’m tempted to think it wasn’t, but still)
Consider What Writing Style Suits Your Genre and Message
i alr talked about this with the McLuhan part but yeah, it’s important to consider how these interact (as Shani said, they don’t always have to go along, it’s very fun when they clash on purpose, i’m sure you all have heard songs that sound extremely fun and lighthearted but end up having dark af lyrics)
Make a Bank of Words You Like to Use
oooh this is something i hadn’t considered before!
it sounds like a fun exercise!
If You Speak Another Language, Use it to Inspire You!
it’s no secret English is my second language, so this may be something i’ve been doing subconsciously (or consciously, actually, taking into account that i’ve written a story using two languages and talking about it huh)
and if i may add:
different languages can introduce you to concepts that are unknown to you in your first language
and playing with those concepts can give your story a new depth and dynamic
I definitely agree with you here! I think what I should have said is that you don’t want to sound different for the sake of being different and nothing else! I think the examples you gave are stylistic choices that add to the story! I’ve seen way too many people just decide that they want a unique writing style and not back it up with any artistic or message-based choice. It always feels super forced!
I agree with this as well. Although, I think the quote “the medium is the message” proves to me that the message is the most important thing, personally! It suggests that the medium should be used as a tool to ensure that your message lands as well as possible. However, there needs to be a solid message in the first place to enable this to happen. It plays a really important role in helping to convey the message because everything in a piece of writing is a tool to create message and meaning!
I love these points you’ve made! I’m so glad you took the time to read and reply!
Also, I think My Immortal is hilarious and I think it wouldn’t have been so funny if people didn’t think it was genuine! The comedy comes from laughing at its poor quality, rather than seeing it as a pithy commentary on other fanfics! I love it though
oh yeah definitely agreed here!
yeah i get you
ngl to me the medium and message can’t be separated cleanly so i don’t like putting a hierarchy to them? like what’s exeptional about Van Gogh’s paintings (this example bc he’s my fave painter)? the subject? the technique? what they transmit/tell us? i think it’s a mix of all of them, and the paintings wouldn’t be what they are if we don’t take into account either of these topics
but yeah i definitely get you heh
you put an effort in these, it’s only fair i try to give the same back, no?
also starting a discussion about these is always fun and a good way to learn more about the topics!
yeah i get you
idk if you’re familiar with Strange Æons but she’s a really fun youtuber who’s covered My Immortal a couple times and what she’s said really has me hoping it was a genuine fic lol
I love her! And I absolutely agree! I think it loses a little bit of its charm if its self-aware xD
oh it definitely does
Very informative and enlightening post!